Aldermen and Straw Men

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Pictures have arrived of hasbeen Labour councillors Ron ‘Ruined’ Abbey, Chris Meaden and Phil “Power Boy Pip’ Davies alongside long serving Tory councillors Thingy and Whatsit and current mayor Cllr Tony Smith and his consort.

Apparently ‘Alderman’ badges were being bestowed at Wallasey Town Hall at a surprisingly low key event for a self-aggrandizing group of people. Now we neither know nor care what an ‘Alderman’ badge is  – all we do know is that former Labour councillor Harry ‘Pottymouth’ Smith received one so we assume it isn’t much of an accolade!

However we must say Ron looks to have gotten over his deselection as a Labour councillor and seems much happier now he has a useless pendant dangling from him.

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This picture in particular got us thinking about such awards and how in recent times the Mayoral appointment especially among the Labour ranks has become not only a reward for failure but a form of ‘reputation rehab’ for ‘men of straw’. First, there was Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin and her woeful record with adult care services and then there was Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes , well  we wouldn’t know where to begin with this one and now we have Cllr Tony Smith  who was to children’s services what Matron was to adult services – a monumental failure.   And as for Cllr Smith’s Deputy (and next Mayor) why , it’s none other than Foulkesy’s partner in crime Cllr George Davies…

We rest our case.

 

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Planning in Action – Planning Committee 17th April

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Apologies if we’re a bit late to the planning party but events have rather overtaken us this week . However we have been asked for your support against a planning application  concerning Ashton Court ,West Kirby  that comes before tonight’s Planning committee.

Planning Committee 17.04.19 agenda

It will be interesting to observe the actions of Planning Committee Chair (!) Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes on this particular agenda item particularly considering the conflicts of interest involved with him being a board member of Magenta Living. But then this is Wirral Council where all kinds of conflicts go undeclared and unchallenged.

Here are the details of one of the objections to the plans:

ASHTON COURT……Planning Committee – Wednesday 17 April 2019.

1.      My name is Alan Rundle and I live at XXX, West Kirby.

2.     This Planning Committee has already rejected two identical planning applications for development at Ashton Court. The Planning Inspectorate has dismissed two appeals.

3.      ‘Magenta Living’ has created three companies to privatise its housing stock. They are ‘Starfish Commercial’, ‘Bamboo Lettings’ and ‘Hilbre Homes’.

4.      The previous two identical applications were submitted by Starfish Commercial.

5.       This application has been submitted by ‘Hilbre Homes’.

6.         Since this application is identical to the previous two, the concerns and objections to the previous applications apply equally to this application.

7.      Six petitions have now been submitted to the Council, objecting to this scheme.

8.     A large number of West Kirby residents want to see the Ashton Court flats refurbished, modernised and occupied, once more, by elderly people.

9.     The Lead Local Flood Authority (the LLFA) objects to this application and recommends refusal of planning permission contrary to what is printed in the Ashton Court Agenda, under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’.

10.             I quote from an email sent by the Lead Local Flood Authority to Neil A.Williams, with the subject given as ‘Application APP/18/01625 (Ashton Court) consultation response, dated 10th January 2019. It states:

“……the Lead Local Flood Authority object to this application and recommend refusal of planning permission….” adding “….the proposed scale of development may present risks of flooding on-site and/or elsewhere if surface water run-off is not effectively managed”.

The LLFA also states that “….there is no information whether the system will be in private ownership or offered for adoption, who will be responsible for maintenance and how maintenance of unadopted communal components…….will be secured and funded in perpetuity”.

The LLFA further adds: “In the absence of this information, the surface water flood risk resulting from the proposed development is unknown and this is therefore sufficient reason in itself for a refusal of planning permission”.

11.             The Council’s website shows that there were seven bodies consulted concerning this application. The LLFA one has been seen to recommend refusal of planning permission. I have given some of the LLFA’s reasons. The Wirral Society was consulted. In a communication to Mr. N. Williams, dated 9 January 2019, the Wirral Society writes: “The Wirral Society objects to this repeat, repeat application….”.

Reasons are given including one that states: “Surely, a refurbishment is possible and less costly, and would maintain the green space that is under threat from this application at the centre of Banks Road”.

Why is there no mention of the Wirral Society objection in the Ashton Court Agenda document under the heading ‘CONSULTATIONS’?

Why is the Agenda item ‘CONSULTATIONS’ so misleading and incomplete?

12.             This application breaches several NPPF and Council policies:

  1. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) definition of Previously Developed Land (aka Brownfield Sites) specifically excludes the inclusion of “….land in built-up areas such as private residential gardens….”. Therefore, Ashton Court does not qualify as a Brownfield Site and should be removed from the Council’s Register of Brownfield Sites.
    Ashton Court is not actually given ‘confirmed’ status on the Council’s Brownfield Site Register and, as a consequence, this application does not qualify for the subsidy of a Vacant Building Credit of £9,291 to be paid by the Council to the applicant.

    The Lead Local Flood Authority has previously stated that the site cannot be classed as ‘previously developed’ or ‘brownfield’ for the purposes of the water drainage system.

    (ii) GRE1 – The title of the Council’s Urban Greenspace Strategic Policy is a big clue as to what it is intended to do: GRE1 The Protection of Urban Greenspace. This planning application proposes to cover urban greenspace with concrete, tarmac and bricks and mortar.

    (iii) SPD2…..Separation Distances.
    In the Agenda, section 3.8.13 it states that “Almost all separation distances are complied with“.This is not acceptable. Does the Council’s SPD2 policy apply to some residents but not to others, or does the SPD2 policy apply to all residents? This application breaches the Council’s SPD2 policy.

    (iv) SPD4…..Car Parking provision for newly-built properties – 27 car parking spaces should have been provided for the proposed 14 houses. This application breaches the Council’s SPD4 policy. and

      (v) the NPPF definition of ‘Affordable Housing’ states that

     “Social rented, affordable rented and intermediate housing, provided to eligible households whose needs are not met by the market. Eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices. Affordable housing should include provisions to remain at an affordable price for future eligible households or for the subsidy to be recycled for alternative housing provision”. “Intermediate housing” is homes for sale and rent provided at a cost above social rent, but below market levels.

    It is not clear that the applicant has made any commitment to guarantee that future eligible households will receive any subsidy.

13.             Some West Kirby residents have suggested that the Council compulsorily purchase the Ashton Court retirement flats.

14.             Some West Kirby residents have expressed their desire to see the Ashton Court flats awarded listed status…….as an example of 1960s council housing.

15.            This application includes no Social Rented Housing…….no Intermediate Housing……. and……no Key Worker Housing.

16.            I ask Wirral Council’s Planning Committee to reject this planning application.

 

The Local Election Circus Comes To Wirral

The names in the frames have been announced  for the local elections to be held on Thursday May 2 2019 . So we bring you the Wirral Leaks cut out and keep guide to where we think  the keenest contests will take place and which candidates to watch.

The first match up that caught our eye was the political celebrity death match to be held in the Rock Ferry ward where  ‘Independent’ Cllr Chris Meaden goes head to head with the official Labour candidate and former local Labour Group leader Yvonne Nolan.

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Credit where it’s due at least Cllr Meaden is throwing herself into the ring and is prepared to put herself to an electoral test unlike Councillors Mike Sullivan, Moira McLaughlin and Bill Davies who also fly under the flag of ‘Independent’. It will be interesting to see whether the Rock Ferry electorate vote for ‘personality’ over ‘politics’. Although with Rock Ferry regularly having the lowest voter turn out in the local elections we suspect that the winner of this particular political battle will be the one who best galvanises the local electorate from their political apathy. Good luck with that one.

Elsewhere judging by the resources that the local Labour group are throwing at the Birkenhead & Tranmere and Prenton wards, and the results last time round, it would seem they are anticipating a strong challenge from Green Party candidates Steve Hayes and Chris Cooke respectively.  The former is contesting current Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ ward now that the cowardly lion has bailed out of facing a public vote . The latter is up against Labour Wirral Council Cabinet member for being permanently excited, Cllr Angie Davies, who has been touted as a potential Labour Group leader (no laughing at the back) so this will be a particularly interesting ward to keep an eye on.

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Another anticipated closely fought political battle involving someone else who has been spoken of as a future Labour Group leader will be taking place in the Pensby & Thingwall ward where Cllr Phill ‘Two L and Back’ Brightmore faces Conservative candidate Mike Collins , who we know is a particular favourite of ex Wirral Council control room staff. When Collins stood last time in this ward the final count was very close. So who will take the spoils this time round? The political heavyweight or the actual heavyweight? People of Pensby & Thingwall you decide!

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Astonishingly we find that Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  is actually allowed to stand in the Claughton ward. It is an appalling indictment of the state of Wirral politics and the standard of its politicians. And then again look at his ‘proposer’,  fellow Claughton councillor George Davies. Of course, Davies , as Frank Field’s electoral agent is used to doing the dirty work when it comes to such matters.  Below is a picture from the local elections last time around and what the lucky people of Claughton can look forward to suddenly appearing on the doorstep over the next few weeks – but then knowing what the people of Claughton know about Foulkesy’s antics over the years they get what they deserve

George as Igor

And finally… if the name of the UKIP candidate for the Wallasey ward is to be believed it would appear that Santa Claus is coming to town in time for the local elections but then it must be said we don’t believe in any of them…

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Kingdom and Merseytravel – ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’ taking it to the streets…

Our thanks to ‘Liverpool Litter Plod‘ for taking it to the streets over the ongoing Kingdom Security debacle and forthrightly putting his concerns to Wirral Councillor and Merseytravel Committee member Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes about how Kingdom operate and particularly on Merseytravel property on behalf of Wirral Council .

Foulkesy replies with the classic line : “I’ve never defended poor behaviour in my life …”

Are you sure about that Foulkesy? As far as we’re concerned your entire political career has been characterised by ‘poor behaviour’. Foulkesy may not like ‘Liverpool Litter Plod’s ‘style of engagement’ but it’s becoming increasingly clear that for complacent local politicians to sit up and take notice you sometimes have to take it to the streets and use the language of the streets – otherwise they will dictate the rules of engagement and they will control the course of events.

Can we please have more of this type of thing?

 

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Merseytravel HQ

The Grubby World of Wirral Politics

As a postscript to Monday’s Extraordinary Wirral Council Meeting, which if nothing else gave many ordinary people on Wirral the opportunity to witness first hand the pantomime that passes for local political debate, we promised to bring you some further pictures of the night’s proceedings.

We feel as though the candid shots and the accompanying commentary provided by an eyewitness are a perfect summation of both the evening and how politics ‘works’ on Wirral.

Hi,

Just been down the Town Hall for the meeting. What a f***ing joke! The voting system seems to have come from some third world country!

You might be able to use these photos.

Grubby people, behind grubby windows, doing grubby deals! (I should work for the Star!)

Davies in the pre-meeting warning the members to vote his way and Foulkes being Foulkes!

Cheers

davies warning the troops

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They say that a picture paints a thousand words but we’ll give you three to start with :

COMPLACENT. CORPULENT. CORRUPT.

A Day of Protest at Wallasey Town Hall Part 2 : A scorched earth approach to Wirral’s Green Belt

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Many thanks to those who have sent us photos from last night’s extraordinary turnout at the Wirral Council Extraordinary Meeting to discuss Wirral’s Green Belt and specifically Notices of Motion on the Hoylake Golf Resort. There were many pictures to choose from but we’ve tried to keep them as apolitical as possible. We’ll be also be posting a couple of further candid shots later as we think they’re particularly telling and worthy of a post of their own.

When it came to it the Green Belt debate was by the by as the Labour group seemed to want to carry on their ongoing self-immolation in front of a large audience.  Not only do certain sections of the local Labour Party hierarchy seem to have a scorched earth policy when it comes to the Green Belt it also seems to apply to members of their own party.

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First up there was Cllr Chris Meaden and a ‘personal statement’  about her recent deselection about which you’d really need to have a heart of stone not to laugh. It was the usual unsubstantiated attacks on other Labour Party members and ‘poor-me’ on parade.The blown kisses to family members in the public gallery was a nice touch to end on.  There was a standing ovation from the Tory benches (yes, the Tory benches) as Meaden had previously warned that the Labour Group ,which she had been a part of for so many years, wouldn’t stand they’d been told they couldn’t ( by the party whip? The party ‘leader’? Sonic rays from outer space?) So does Meaden want us believe that  in all the years she’d been a councillor that she never followed such directions?  A sickening postscript to this show of disloyalty on both sides of the Labour schism was Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes telling Cllr Meaden he would still be her ‘fwend’ ! Not so much BFF but BSF!

Our favourite aspect of the night’s proceedings were the repeated digs from right across the political spectrum pointing to Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ failure of leadership. However it was best evidenced by Wirral’s most prominent political power couple Labour’s Cllr Jo Bird and Cllr Tony Norbury. We couldn’t help thinking that the former would make the better future leader but it was clear that she wanted shut of Pip pronto! Cllr Norbury was more mealymouthed about why he was voting against the Tory Notice of Motion to ditch the Hoylake Golf Resort (which was narrowly lost) claiming that the evening’s proceedings were a political stunt and protesting was a complete waste of time . Norbury thereby managed to alienate the public gallery and further protestors in the overflow Committee rooms.  Way to go, Tone!

Norbury went on to claim that although he agreed with the Notice of Motion a) he wouldn’t side with Tories and b) if he did he would be suspended by the Labour whip. So kudos goes to Labour Cllr Jean Robinson for sticking by her principles and calling time on the Council ‘leader’s expensive ego trip and not kowtowing to political pressure.Whether she’ll be suspended  by the Labour Group for doing so is a moot point but if she isn’t it will make Cllr Norbury’s protestations seem like empty words…

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The ‘Right’ Kind of Labour Politician

Following on from yesterday’s Selection Committee non-event at Birkenhead Constituency Labour Party (CLP) we’ve been musing on the cock up or conspiracy aspects of the debacle.

Now , we’re not usually prone to reaching for a tin foil hat especially when Her Ladyship tells us that they’re ‘so last season’ but there were some worrying signs prior to the meeting that the political establishment both nationally and locally were gearing up for a spoiler.

Needless to say Frank Field ally The Daily Mail (aka Fail) , an ever willing receptacle for his self serving rhetoric, was ready with a less than complimentary article on Wirral Labour councillor Tony Norbury and leading candidate to succeed Frankenfield as the next Labour Parliamentary candidate…the day before the Selection Committee was due to meet. Well, what a coincidence! However and as you read on here yesterday in our EXCLUSIVE : And the new Parliamentary Labour candidate for Birkenhead is… post things didn’t quite go to plan…or did they (for some interested parties at least)?

The Daily Mail article titled Labour hopeful lining up to take on veteran MP Frank Field ‘is a hard-left bully with links to group that dismissed claims of anti-Semitism against party’ details how Cllr Norbury had been disciplined by the Labour Party for bullying and revisited issues of alleged anti-semitism which we’d previously reported here

Needless to say local Tories and Frank Field fans were on hand to add fuel to the fire with former Tory Council leader Cllr Jeff ‘Yellow’ Green retweeting a link to the  Daily Mail article with a typically cryptic and cowardly comment: ‘Well,well,well..’. 

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Well,well, well indeed! So tell us Cllr Green do you consider Cllr Norbury to be a worse prospect than Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes ? You know the one who considers you ‘kindred’? You know the one who organised a failed smear campaign against you and lied about it in an investigation and then there had to be another investigation because he’d lied during the first one and then continued to lie again in the second one? Or is ‘Foulkesy’ the ‘right’ kind of Labour politician who you can sit alongside on the  Board of Magenta Living , trousering the cheque and pretending to ‘play nice’.

As you can see from further tweets this week in support of Labour councillor Chris Meaden fellow Tory councillors Ian Lewis and Chris Blakeley follow the same path when it comes to Labour politicians . There’s a right sort and a wrong sort .

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Now don’t get us wrong we’re not taking sides here as nobody’s hands seem to be clean in this political shitshow and as you know we have pored over philosophical treatises ,mulled over manifestoes and read the political rhetoric and concluded :

bollocks

However to be frank (and not Frank) we’re  beginning to not care if the so called ‘hard-left’ returnees and entryists are hammer and sickle wielding wild-eyed Trots. Anything, ANYTHING that shakes up the moribund puppetshow that passes for political debate on Wirral where it’s all back to the Mayor’s parlour for a handshake , a sly wink and a slap on the back for a part perfectly played in a political pantomime is OK with us…

 

On the Highway to another Maccy D’s ?

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Maccy D’s cheek by jowl with Highways depot. Planning at its finest.

Another recent news story that readers have sought our commentary on is this one headlined McDonald’s drive thru planned for Prenton

A source writes:

How long has the word ‘through’ been ‘thru’? The next thing you know they’ll be spelling the name ‘Foulkes’ as ‘Fucks’. And ‘Trump’ as ‘Davies’.

For indeed as you can read the story concerns Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes the Chair of  Wirral Council’s Planning Committee seeking a site visit to the Durley Industrial Estate to check the suitability of the location for yet another McDonald’s. Well it’s better than having to go to work isn’t it Foulkesy?

We can safely assume that Foulkesy won’t be popping into ‘Total Fitness’ gym while he’s there but he might well pop in to Wirral Council’s Highways depot . After all he might want to meet up with some chums who were willingly  involved with him in a political smear campaign and have been actively involved in protecting his and Cllr George Davies sorry arses ever since . But in return for what we ask ourselves? We don’t know whether Foulkesy will  be meeting up with old acquaintances for sure because, as we can see from this Freedom of Information request titled Organisational breakdown of highways and transport division   , Wirral Council are curiously reluctant to identify details of staff currently working within the Highways department. We are only allowed to know the name of the Interim Director at the top of the tree because he is the only public servant who earns over £50K…

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The reminder of Foulkesy’s  long standing dishonesty makes us want to once again question his suitability to be Chair of any Committee, let alone the Planning Committee. If any Wirral Council Committee requires the Chair to be like Caesar’s wife and above suspicion it is this particular appointment.

We’ll know if there’s been any jiggerypokery with this planning application if Maccy D’s incongruously opens up on an industrial estate and introduce a ‘Sorrento Burger’ in tribute – made from 100% British bully beef (guaranteed no foreign muck and with a hot and fiery sauce)…

 

Wirral Waters and That Sinking Feeling

FOOD BANK and 500 apartments for Seacombe

As previewed last week in Place North West  Council’s prime chronicler of  all things Wirral Waters/Wirral Waters One/Whatever last night’s  Planning Committee approved plans for 500 apartments :

A reserved matters application for Wirral Waters One, a 500-home project at East Float Dock in Peel’s Wirral Waters will be considered at planning committee next Thursday, with a recommendation for approval.

Along with an application for 430,000 sq ft of offices in a mixed-use creative industries quarter at Vittoria Studios East, the scheme was submitted in May for reserved matters, the two applications meeting the condition set at the granting of outline consent in 2012 over the phasing of development.

The apartment scheme is proposed by Peel Land & Property and Legacy, a company founded by footballers Rio Ferdinand, Mark Noble and Bobby Zamora. The JV said in October that it intends to start work on the Glenn Howells Architects-designed scheme next summer. Comprising a mix of 256 one-bedroom and 280 two-bedroom apartments, 20% of the scheme will be classed as affordable dwellings.

Turley’s planning statement said that is design terms, “the building façades utilise a mix of materials including corrugated sheet cladding and a pre-cast construction which will provide identity and character. Bold colours will complement the existing maritime environment.”

The project is funded by Aviva and also counts the council as a partner, Wirral having agreed a business case for the project at a cabinet meeting on 1 October.

Wirral Waters Apartments Set For Approval

As you can see on the webcast below Planning Committee Chair and serial liar Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes  (what could possibly go wrong? ) seems to be conceding that any idea that Wirral Waters is about business development has been thrown into the River Mersey with the International Trade Centre. It’s all about investment opportunities for second home owners now – but as we’ve asked before who is going to live in these so called ‘luxury’ apartments ?

Wirral Waters Planning Committee

The day after all this was approved it was announced that Chief council officer quits £115,000 post after just a few months . The Chief Officer in question being Brian Bailey , who is someone we brought to your attention when he was appointed in our  Peel, Pillow Talk & Forked Tongues post. We are left wondering whether Bailey’s decision to quit has anything to do with developments (or non-developments) or he’s been in touch with his old mucker from Blackburn & Darwen Council and former Wirral Council CEO Graham Burgess? – ” What’s that you say Bri, Foulkesy is chair of the Planning Committee and  George Davies is the Cabinet member responsible all this ? They and their protector Frank Field were my undoing . My advice would be to get out before they’re out to get you!”

We also ask ourselves whether there could be another clue in the Place North West Wirral Waters promo :

No major issues with the proposal are highlighted by statutory consultees, with the only potential sticking point being a notification from the council’s housing officer that depending on level of occupation, some apartments could fall below the threshold of the Nationally Described Space Standards, although Wirral has in any case not yet adopted NDSS.

So basically can we deduce that Wirral Waters is to be reduced to rabbit hutches offering high yield returns for rich investors – if they can get anyone to live in them!

 

 

 

Exit Stage Left

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As the above Green Party leaflet doing the rounds shows  opposition parties are delighting in the fact that the local Labour Party continues to enact a form of political autophagous. What is surprising is that some members of the Labour old guard are so under threat from their own members that they appear to be colluding with the opposition in ensuring maximum damage is inflicted upon their own body politic.

Consequently we couldn’t let Monday’s full Wirral Council meeting go without commenting on the dramatic scenes of Cllr Moira ‘Matron’ McLaughlin being allowed to open proceedings with a ‘short statement’ comprising a triple whammy of slagging off what she considers to be ‘the wrong sort’ of members of the Labour Party , rewriting history and that old stand-by, feigning victimhood.

Thanks to the John Brace film productions you can watch the ‘playing to the gallery’ unfold below from the 8 minute mark:

Apparently the local Labour Party no longer has the values that she ‘holds dear’ – which, based on her appalling track record, from our point of view, can only be a good thing! Whilst ‘Matron’ still graciously approves of a small number of local Labour members there can be no doubt that they will be the same members usually referred to on here as a ‘cabal’. Understandably the ‘cabal’ resent the challenge to their long held power base from what the Rock Ferry councillor describes as an ‘organised takeover by the hard left’ and Matron is now apparently their appointed spokesperson.

Needless to say there was the usual (unsubstantiated) allegations of ‘bullying,harassment and vilification’ by local Labour party members which  Matron claimed had been raised at local,regional and national level and been ‘ignored and tolerated’ and therefore  ‘condoned’…or perhaps there just wasn’t any substance to them. Just sayin’ ! She actually identified herself and others such as recently deselected Cllr Chris Meaden and Clllr Ron Abbey as ‘victims’ – no,really! Victims of what ? Democratic party processes?  We’re just surprised at this point she didn’t reach for a hanky and dab away the crocodile tears for full dramatic effect.

Remember this is coming from the councillor who  ignored,tolerated and condoned appalling PROVEN and EVIDENCED bullying and harassment when she oversaw an utterly toxic and dysfunctional culture within the Department of Adult Social Services (DASS). Matron preferring to be  comfortably numb – then and now – to the ‘unpleasant’ reality of what was happening within DASS courtesy of her corrupt Cheshire chums.

And on she went in full Hattie Jacques in Carry On Matron mode complaining about Cllr Chris Meaden’s replacement who she pointedly refused to name but in a far from comradely manner described her previous tenure as the leader of Wirral Council as being ‘chaos’.

Yvonne Nolan (for it is she) was described as being ‘parachuted in’ and of having no knowledge of the area or any interest in Rock Ferry. ‘It’s disgraceful’ Matron harrumphed as though she’d caught Sid James having a crafty fag under the bedsheets. Once again the hypocrisy was staggering as Matron went all ‘Cassandra’ on us and  predicted  that Nolan would be an ‘absentee councillor’. Er,hang on a minute can somebody tell us how far Wirral Council ‘leader’ Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies’ home is from his safe Birkenhead ward? Just askin’!

Apparently it was the Mayor’s discretion to allow Matron to chew the scenery , sorry make a personal statement. The current Tory Mayor Cllr Geoffrey Watt didn’t afford Labour councillor Tony Norbury the opportunity to reply. But then he wouldn’t would he? This was stage management at it’s most cynical. It was an absolute pass the sickbag moment as the Tory benches rose in unison to give Matron a standing ovation. It was interesting to note that not all Labour councillors stood up to applaud. Ever the chancer former leader of the council  Cllr Steve ‘Foulkesy’ Foulkes can be seen nervously twitching in his seat but resolutely stayed put, obviously not wanting to upset his new found allies on the ‘hard left’ who keep him in a position of power and influence.

Watching this sickening scene was an insight into how politics on Wirral has long been nothing more than a pantomime with the main political parties playing their parts. All trying to upstage each other by pretending to be outraged and shocked and appalled before nipping into the Mayor’s parlour for a little snifter and a pat on the back. No wonder when a challenge to the status quo (and allowances and expenses) arrives it is met with catcalls from the supporting cast and luvvie speeches of support from opposition party leaders . It would seem that for long standing politicians at Wirral Council , familiarity breeds content…